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VIDEO: Little Amal Makes a Big Splash in Bed Stuy

Drums thumped, hands waved and children danced: Bed Stuy welcomed Little Amal with open arms.
Little Amal dances
Little Amal dances for excited onlookers. Credit: Katey St John

On her quest to visit all of New York City’s five boroughs, Little Amal, the 12-foot-tall puppet refugee, stopped at Bed Stuy’s Restoration Plaza last Thursday. The day’s persistent drizzle finally faded, and the sun peaked out upon her lively arrival. 

Depicting a 10-year-old child, Little Amal has traveled over 9000km around the world hoping to inspire acceptance and compassion for refugee children everywhere. Her name “Amal” means “Hope” in Arabic, and she brings that message to each location she visits. 

As a recent influx of asylum-seeking immigrants arrives in New York City, Amal’s message becomes all the more important. The evening Amal visited Bed Stuy, she was met with cheering voices, a bouncing rhythm and a loyal crowd of fans.

“This is a city of immigrants thus we should be treating everybody with open arms, joy, and dance like we did today with Amal,” said Chi Ossé, Bed Stuy’s Council Member. 

Young performers from both the Brooklyn United Marching Band and the Youth Arts Academy led the puppet into Restoration Plaza. There, towering stilt walkers and the rhythmic Moko Jumbies created an energetic welcome for Little Amal. Bed Stuy’s Billie Holiday Theater planned the event. 

“I think Amal needs to be a reflection of how we treat immigrants — not only the migrants that are coming in, but all asylum speakers, migrants and immigrants that come to this country and this city,” Ossé said.

Katey St. John

About the Author: Katey St. John

Katey St John is a journalist, documentary filmmaker, activist, and baker whose passions lie where food and sustainability intersect.
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